Nathan Jones will inherit a team capable of doing “great things” but must also be given time to transform Southampton’s fortunes, according to interim boss Ruben Selles.
Prospective new manager Jones watched from the stands as Saints scraped past League One Sheffield Wednesday on penalties in the Carabao Cup.
The current Luton boss is expected to be confirmed as successor to the sacked Ralph Hasenhuttl before Saturday’s Premier League trip to Liverpool.
Saints laboured to a 1-1 draw with the Owls in 90 minutes after James Ward-Prowse’s penalty cancelled out Josh Windass’ opener before their blushes were spared by Alex McCarthy saving from Dominic Iorfa in a 6-5 shoot-out success.
Spaniard Selles, who is yet to meet Welshman Jones, said: “This team is a good team. It’s not a team of young players or a team who has no quality or whatever.
“This team is a great team of persons. This team is a team that can do great things but everything needs time in this life and when you’re building a new team, it’s never easy in the beginning.
“Some of those boys need patience. That’s what we need to learn, to be a little bit more patient in the situations when we want to build something good.
“I know sometimes this growing process is not hand by hand with the competing, with the score, with the need to win every game.”
Hasenhuttl was sacked after Sunday’s 4-1 hammering by Newcastle left Southampton in the relegation zone.
Jones quickly emerged as the frontrunner for the vacancy and he posed for photos with home fans before kick-off, having taken charge of Luton’s 2-0 loss at Stoke on Tuesday evening.
Despite the unconvincing manner in which Saints progressed to the last 16, Selles declared it “mission accomplished” as he hailed the unity within the squad.
“One of the big things tonight that you saw, it was a team spirit, a team together, everybody celebrating because it’s a small big victory,” he said.
“If you lose today then it’s a big loss, if you win that’s what needs to be done. We didn’t expect to win it that late. Second half, we had chances to finish it before.
“It didn’t happen and in the penalties we did it so it was a well done, it’s mission accomplished for everybody – not only about going through to the next round but also about feelings, togetherness, performance and we got everything we wanted from the game.”
Wednesday, who sit third in League One, were the last club from outside the top division to lift the League Cup following victory over Manchester United in the 1991 final.
The Owls will turn attention back to their promotion push after coming so close to an upset.
Manager Darren Moore said: “I’m really proud of the performance tonight. We played some good stuff against real good Premier League opposition.
“We took them all the way. I’ve got no complaints with the players, I thought we gave a good account of ourselves. We are disappointed but we have to take the positives out of it.”